The current state of our Calibration System

Gman2

Involved - Posts
#1
OK so it's been a long while since we have been certified here (5+ years).
And every ISO system is pretty much completely broken. I just performed an evaluation/audit of our calibration system and here is what we are up against.

1. Company owned devices like Tape Measures, Squares, Rulers are very dinged up, rusty and neglected (some to the point of not being readable). This one is easy, OOC and get rid of the bad ones and order replacements. The problem comes in at #2

2. Since either the company does not supply everyone with enough equipment to do their jobs or the people just really don't ask for stuff that they need but they have been buying and/or bringing stuff in here from home to work with which has caused a system where there are more personal measuring devices in the shop then company owned/controlled devices. And MOST of the home brought stuff is in bad bad shape. And this is just in the first production section of the business, this is going to be like this everywhere here and its only going to get worse from one section to the next.
We will have hundreds of devices from employees brought in that they are using in crummy/noncontrolled condition.

So has anyone been through this before?
I have run into but on a much smaller scale. Like maybe a handful of items found brought in by employees, and for those we just marked reference only or we included them in the calibration system.
Here I would have to literally tell people to take back home over half of the tools that they are using daily because they are so bad.

And what happens when an employee takes the tool back home, or breaks it, or decides to bring another tool in here? This is kind of a huge issue I can see.

Perfect world, I tell them take ALL of your measuring tools home and don't bring one thing back in here. Ideally WE should be supplying everyone with the measuring tools that they need right?

Also let me run a list of items and if you could let me know your thoughts on whether they need calibrated or not.

-Tape Measures- We have large tolerences here but we still have to use SOMETHING to measure and tapes are usually it. I am usually against including tapes but in this case maybe it makes sense.

-Steel Squares- Lots of these hanging around. As for squareness I can't tell but I can tell you that some of them are so dinged up and rusty that the numbers are just about GONE. Since we are using them to check squareness do we need to worry about the numbers? I think we do because to me it could be used to measure. And how do you calibrate those things anyway?

-Levels- I'm guessing these things can go out of calibration. But again how do you check them? and we do use them to see if our stuff is made correctly.


-Torque Wrenches- We do have some torque specs called out now on some new jobs, should we include these? I/m guessing these must be sent out.

Every door I open here is an ISO nightmare lol.


G
 
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dgriffith

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
I'm sensing the company isn't very willing to open their pocket book. Nor are they cognizant of what a quality system is for and how to run one.

The torque wrenches should be calibrated--at $75 a pop they might spring for it.... :).
Just how critical is quality to your customers? Perhaps none of your tools need to be verified/cal'd.
Personal tools should be controlled just as company tools should be, but I say good luck.
 
#3
Save money - don't have your torque wrenches calibrated! They don't need it! Instead get/borrow a torque setting master and have that calibrated. Then verify your wrenches on that. Much cheaper than doing what ISN'T needed!
 

Mikishots

Trusted Information Resource
#4
If the company does not supply everyone with enough equipment to do their jobs, then that's a major problem. If your QMS was certified to a standard such as ISO9001:2008, there would be a finding for not providing the required infrastructure and not demonstrating commitment to achieve conformity to requirements.

To get back on track, you need to put the following into place;

1. No tools from home. They are not calibrated, identified, or controlled. The company should not be responsible for paying for calibration on tools they do not own.
2. Throw out damaged monitoring and measuring devices, if they cannot be brought back to acceptable tolerance.
3. Order the required equipment. If the company is not willing to do that but still expects you to produce conforming product, it's time to leave; it's a no-win situation.

Tape measures and steel squares are not calibrated - they are verified for acceptable use, because they cannot be adjusted. If the tolerances are tight and are expected to be met, you would be using calibrated devices.
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#5
" 3. Order the required equipment. If the company is not willing to do that but still expects you to produce conforming product, it's time to leave; it's a no-win situation."

I agree with that, but here's an alternate viewpoint. I've always made it a policy to calibrate any tool the employee brings in. That costs less than the drama of calibration nonconformances in external audits.

Unless the company is highly responsive to tool purchase requests, you're going to have employee owned equipment brought in. Either control it and pay to calibrate it, or buy tools and pay to calibrate those. Money come, money go either way.
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
Based on the description, were I to come in a complete an accreditation assessment, there would be several corrective actions, just from the description. These are the ones from the description. A full assessment would likely uncover much more, given the nature of the ones described.

Clauses and descriptions:

1. 4.1.5.a, Inadequate resources
2. 4.2.3, Top Management not ensuring appropriate resources
3. 4.2.2.a and 4.2.2.e, Based on the previous two, conclusion that Top Management does not have the commitment necessary to support accreditation
4. 4.9.1, Based on the lack of proper test equipment or the status of same, measurements made by production personnel are likely non-conforming (This I may write as a Concern, unless the documentation supports a CAR)
5. 5.5.1, Top Management has not ensured adequate test equipment provided.
6. 5.5.2, Based on your description, pretty much the entire Clause
7. 5.5.7, Personnel by-passing the system by using improper or defective equipment

CARs 2 and 3 are the most serious, and could potentially have an accreditation suspended.

I hope this helps you by giving support to fix the issues.
 
P

PaulJSmith

#7
I have been at several places where employee-owned tools were allowed, but were always marked "For Reference Only." Those companies would not pay to calibrate (or verify) tools they did not own. They definitely were not allowed for use in the acceptance or rejection of parts.

Sounds from your description, Gman2, like you need to have a serious sit-down with the management staff and explain the dire situation you have. They will need to be on-board with any solution if you are expecting to find a reasonable resolution.
 
W

Walnut

#8
In the machine shop environment I'm in now I set up a calibration system that uses Company owned measuring tools for Final inspection and also provide in-house calibration/ verification for all employee owned gaging. These are all tracked in our calibration data base. It may not hold up to 17025 standards but it does meet our requirements.
Squares can be verified easily by holding them to a straight edge and drawing a line and then flipping the square over and comparing the edge to the drawn line. If it doesn't match it's not 90 degrees.
A similar test can be done with a level by rotating and flipping it to compare level. It should be level in any orientation.
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#9
....
-Tape Measures- We have large tolerences here but we still have to use SOMETHING to measure and tapes are usually it. ...

-Torque Wrenches- We do have some torque specs called out now on some new jobs, should we include these?...

G
Hello there!

I can certainly see you have a large task in front of you. A question....

It seems to me (I could be very wrong) that your approach is being driven from the equipment side (looking at what you have and figuring out what to do with it).

What about if you approach it from the process side and determine what you need. What is your requirement for measurement? It is really required?

Once you determine your need then you will have to have equipment to meet that need. That... is what you need to take to management. Whether they want to buy equipment or go the employee-owned route, will be their call.
 
#10
I have been at several places where employee-owned tools were allowed, but were always marked "For Reference Only." Those companies would not pay to calibrate (or verify) tools they did not own. They definitely were not allowed for use in the acceptance or rejection of parts.
There's an inherent danger in that Paul - it invites "Reference", when in fact you SHOULD label the equipment "NOT CALIBRATED".

That way you avoid ambiguity! Like "reference libraries", you go there because they have the right books for you to read...
 
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